If a community abandons a town and leaves no written records behind, it can’t help but be a mystery to us. And the older the community, the less likely we’ll find any documents telling us about it. That doesn’t mean we can’t figure out a lot of things, but there are quite a few ancient abandoned cities that leave us with more questions than answers. Çatalhöyük, Turkey, is one of the oldest.
In 7,500 BCE, this city in the Mesopotamian region (now Turkey) held thousands of people and is believed by many to be one of the world's earliest urban settlements. But the culture of the people here was unlike anything we know today. First of all, they built the city like a honeycomb, with houses sharing walls. Homes and buildings were accessed by doors cut into the roofs. People would stroll on the streets across these roofs, and climb down ladders to get to their living quarters. Doorways were often marked with bulls' horns, and dead family members were buried in the floor of each home. It's not clear what happened to the culture of the people who lived in this city. Their architectural style seems to be unique, though archaeologists have found many fertility goddess figurines in the city that resemble others found in the region. So it's likely that when the city was abandoned, its culture radiated outward into other cities in the Mesopotamian region.
My guess would be that these folks realized there’s a better way to build a city, and did so elsewhere. But what do I know? They didn’t leave a note when they left. It’s the same for the other seven cities in this article from io9. -via the Presurfer
(Image credit: Franck Goddio)